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Kaagaz Ki Kashti

Our Approach

Kaagaz Ki Kashti is a solidarity among teachers, students, parents, relevant authorities and responsible citizens for eliminating corporal punishment and make India’s schools safe for our children. We aim to motivate and empower children, their parents and teachers to emancipate from corporal punishment and use non-violent, positive discipline methods instead. Three “Ks” - knowing, kindling, and knotting - are the pillars upon which our intervention and activities are built upon.

Alex

alex@agrasar.org

We run a number of community schools for children of migrant workers, aiming to mainstream them into government schools. Last year, we were celebrating our success as a number of ‘our’ children were accepted into public schools. However, this sense of achievement soured quickly when we found out that they were beaten up by their teachers almost on a daily basis. Although we were able to stop those teachers, we believe that all of India’s children deserve to grow up and learn in an environment free of fear and abuse, and launched Kaagaz ki kashti, our campaign against corporal punishment in the schools of India.

Kaagaz Ki Kashti (K3) is based on 3 Ks

Tidings from the field

One of the 3 Ks for K3 is 'Knotting' / collaborating/ making friends with stakeholders. And here we got our chance to connect with the teachers of Government schools as we did a plantation drive to make the campus greener - which was highest on priority of the school teachers! Children, their teachers, corporate volunteers and Agrasar team participated in the event.

We are in the process of conducting qualitative research in the migrant worker communities in Gurgaon to understand the issue of Corporal Punishment. The study involves children aged 7 to 15 years, their parents, and government school teachers. Our interns from the the Tata Institute of Social Sciences supported us by conducting field interviews.

75% of the interviewed children experience school corporal punishment. 53% of children are beaten regularly by nearly every teacher. Children of migrant workers are often corporally punished by teachers on grounds of racial discrimination. The majority of children who are corporally punished by school teachers never tell their parents, mainly because the large majority of parents (73%) punish them as a result.

Hear it from the children

Praveen (name changed)

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Shaalu (name changed)

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Saurav (name changed)

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Prerit Rana

prerit@agrasar.org

We all must remember a childhood toy. That is ‘paper boat’. As soon as it started raining we used to make paper boats and float it where ever we found water. We hoped it would go far. But at times of heavy rain the kayak made of paper could not tolerate a heavy rain shower. So, simile goes here to describe a child who is as delicate as a paper boat and has just taken its first step in the hope of taking a long joyful and successful journey. How will the child be able to cross the river smiling and beaming?

Corporal Punishment in India

Understanding Corporal Punishment
Is Corporal Punishment legal in India?
The ground reality

What is corporal punishment?

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child defines corporal punishment as
“any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light (...) In the view of the Committee, corporal punishment is invariably degrading. In addition, there are other non-physical forms of punishment that are also cruel and degrading and thus incompatible with the Convention.” Corporal punishment comes in the form of both physical and mental abuse - therefore it is not a type of ‘punishment’ but an act of violence against children and breaches their human rights.

Why is corporal punishment being used in schools?

While teachers have different individual motives to regularly beat or abuse their students, our understanding from research and ground level work reveals that prevailing attitudes and structural problems within in our educational system account for the continued use of corporal punishment:

Many teachers perceive corporal punishment as an effective tool to control children’s behaviour and their academic performance

Oversized classrooms and insufficient infrastructure, especially in public schools, create a frustrating environment for teachers and students

The management culture and promotion system in government schools create few incentives for teachers to do ‘good job’

Schools often do not have adequate governance in place to respond to disruptive student behaviour and incidents

There is a lack of enforcement of existing school (safety) guidelines and to hold the school management accountable for violations

Pervasive violence, especially against children and women, in India’s society does not stop at the school gate but perpetuates the problem

Corporal punishment is prohibited by law in India. Several legal instruments prohibit the use of corporal punishment in the educational system:

In 1992, India acceded the UN Convention on Rights of the Child (1989) which bans corporal punishment in schools for it is a violation of human dignity

In 2002, the Delhi High Court judged that corporal punishment violates a child’s dignity that is guaranteed by the constitution

The 2003 National Charter for Children confirms children’s right to be protected from all corporal punishment

The 2009 Right of Children to Free & Compulsory Education (RTE) Act bans corporal punishment from the educational system

In 2012, the National Commission on the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) issues Guidelines on Ban of Corporal Punishment

The 2013 National Policy for Children confirms the prohibition of corporal punishment in education

Following the incident at Ryan International School in September 2017, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Haryana state government issue guidelines reinforcing children’s right to study in environment free from physical or emotional abuse

The legal ban of corporal punishment in schools is barely implemented or enforced.

Despite being illegal for almost a decade, the majority of school children in India is still being abused by their teachers.

According to a nation-wide study by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2007 65% of children face corporal punishment at school, while five years later the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) saw that number at 99.9%. At the same time, Childline India reported that only 6% of government and 4% of private schools do not use corporal punishment.

Sadly, those numbers have changed very little until now, and we have learnt from recent studies that children of young age and disadvantaged communities are particularly vulnerable. Unicef’s Young Lives study in 2015 concluded that 93% of primary school children experience abuse by teachers, compared to “only” 68% of teenagers.

Our own survey in Gurgaon earlier this year found that 75% of children from low-income, migrant worker communities are subjected to corporal punishment, significantly higher than the average of 65%.

Why we need to worry

Creates an environment of fear and abuse in children

The pain and scars, and in some cases, fatal injuries or long-term health problems that are inflicted by corporal punishment, endanger the safety of India’s children

It undermines the effort to provide children with a safe learning space

Corporal punishment increases the struggle of India’s children to grow up in a safe environment, free from fear and abuse
It also related to the overall context of domestic and gender-based violence in India

Undermines the very purpose of education

Corporal punishment intimidates children, suppressing their intellectual curiosity

It is ineffective to discipline children – it merely encourages conformist behaviour to avoid pain instead of helping students to focus their attention

Exercising corporal punishment is a waste of time that could be spent elsewhere

Corporal punishment undermines children’s trust and respect for teachers.

Foundation for aggressive and delinquent behaviour in adults

The experience of corporal punishment at school correlates with aggressive, violent and delinquent behaviour in children’s later life

It has correlations with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and generally lower self-esteem

It causes frustration and trauma in children, resulting in hostility and violent acts towards others

Violent pattern of behaviour are later replicated in intimate and parenting relationships

Myths about Corporal Punishment

Blog

Link to the webpage for Agrasar's movement against corporal punishment in India

Strong Children or Broken Men

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‘Unearthing alternatives to corporal punishment’

Some thoughts to ponder on: Apparently, Corporal Punishment is a world-wide phenomenon. It’s being fought against, just like many other forms of discrimination are being ...
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